YP Letters: System that divides children at age of 11 is cruel and wrong

From: Dennis Richards, Headteacher St Aidans CE High School, Harrogate (1989-2012), Victoria Road, Harrogate.

MY good friend Martin Pearman, Head of Ripon Grammar School (The Yorkshire Post, September 15), is somewhat disingenuous in advocating the selective system in Ripon as a model for the rest of us to follow.

The fact remains that there is a mass flight out of Ripon every morning towards the Harrogate comprehensive schools. It is true that the number has not increased and Mr Pearman is right to point to the outstanding success at Outwood Ripon Academy.

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I salute their results and the fantastic commitment of the teachers who work there. Sadly, it is still the case that every day some children walk up one side of Clotherholme Road in Ripon to the Grammar School.

On the opposite side of the same road children are walking to the Secondary Modern (in all but name). It just seems so wrong, and so unnecessary, even cruel, to create such a division at the age of 11. And faith schools have enough privileges already.

From: Charles Lawson, Halifax Road, Brighouse.

WHEN will politicians stop tinkering with the education system? My secondary school education was at three schools in three counties. In my opinion, only one was a proper comprehensive.

At this school we sat a short test in each subject at the end of each year. Those who did best in the tests went up a class, those at the bottom went down. The education experts regard this as competition and damaging to children’s development.

From Keith Turnbull, Doncaster.

I HAVE read with interest the views of readers on the proposed re-introduction of grammar schools. Personally I have doubts about the need to split our current comprehensive system into a two-tier system with the grammar schools taking the cream. The justification for this appears to be the belief that some of our more gifted pupils are being held back.

Would not streaming per subject in our comprehensives achieve the same result without the mayhem that a re-organisation would create?

Part of education is to mix in a normal environment. My belief is that by and large brighter pupils do well in whatever system we put them into. Education alone is not a guarantee of a successful adult, I’ve come across many graduates who excelled in their student days, but continue to struggle in the real world.